Although The Waltons, as a TV show, has been over and done for decades, actress Judy Norton is developing a following with her online show as she takes fans behind the scenes.
It’s basically Mary Ellen Walton revealing the truth behind the show we all loved. And this week’s episode is all about the set where The Waltons was filmed from 1972-81. Basically, the miracles of Hollywood turned the backlot at Warner Brothers in Burbank, Calif., into a tiny Virginia town in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Norton teased her fans, saying they should flip off her YouTube show if they didn’t want to know the set secrets. Of course, she was joking.
So,’ The Waltons’ Set Was Really Pretty Small
First behind-the-scenes detail for The Waltons? “It’s much more condensed” than you’d think, Norton said.
Now, take a look at the house. That’s where three generations of the Waltons lived under one roof. There were a set of parents and grandparents and seven kids. They all said good night to each other in a sweet ending to every episode. But it’s fake. The front of the house is a facade. And that’s the same for Ike Godsey’s store. There’s nothing past the front.
The dressing rooms and equipment trucks were parked on a street out back. That’s also where the Waltons schoolhouse was set up.
That was a real barn. And according to Norton, the vegetable garden also was real. She said Will Geer, who played “Grandpa” Zebulon Walton, planted the vegetables and tended to the garden. She didn’t say who ate the fresh veggies. That’s a detail for another online show.
There really was a working sawmill on set. Ralph Waite, who played John Walton Sr., worked it. Norton said the menfolk “rarely cut real wood,” but added, “Ralph didn’t have any qualms doing it.”
And yes, that was a real Waltons smokehouse and an authentic chicken coop.
Norton said: “I can’t remember if the chickens were there all the time or whether they brought them in or not. … The other animals didn’t stay there on a regular basis. They had owners, wranglers, people who cared for them. And when we were going to use them, they would be brought in for the day. And they would be hauled in, used for the day, then they would be brought back to where they lived.”
Here’s another Waltons secret. The big rocks and boulders you saw on Waltons Mountain. Fake.
Fans of the Show Loved the Inside Info
Judy Norton got a ton of feedback from fans of the Waltons for providing the set details no one ever really thinks about because it looks so believable.
One fan wrote: “Even though I can see how the ‘magic trick’ was done, it doesn’t lose any of its appeal to me…I think it actually gives me a greater appreciation for what the cast and crew did to bring the show to life. As always, thank you for sharing.”
Another Waltons fan wrote: “This was awesome! I loved learning about the true layout of where everything really was! (Don’t worry, it didn’t ruin how I choose to imagine where every thing [sic] is in Walton land!)”
And another wrote: “I always knew the Godsey’s, the barn, and the Baldwin sister’s place were sets, but I was convinced that the Walton house was a leased home for the show. Everybody felt like the Walton house was like a second home to us. Then again, I was also convinced that Judy Norton was probably just as stubborn, high-spirited and feisty in real life as Mary Ellen.”